High-priced calves drop U.S. July cattle placements by 7 pct

Reuters — The number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in July dropped 7.0 per cent from a year ago as pricey calves deterred some feedlots from purchasing them for fattening, a government report showed on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed July placements at 1.560 million head, down 7.0 per cent from 1.684 million a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had expected a 9.1 per cent decrease.

USDA put the feedlot cattle supply as of Aug. 1 at 9.837 million head, down 2.0 per cent from 10.025 million a year earlier. Analysts polled by Reuters, on average, forecast a decline of 2.6 per cent.

The government said the number of cattle sold to packers, or marketings, was down 9.0 per cent in July from a year earlier, to 1.787 million head. Analysts projected a drop of 7.5 per cent from 1.970 million last year.

In July, ranchers placed more cattle and marketed fewer animals than anticipated which is mildly bearish for Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures

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